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martes, septiembre 29, 2009

1,800 Lose Their Jobs At American Apparel

Does this make any sense? I don't think so. But then again, I'm sympathetic to workers, whether or not they have the right papers.

The New York Times reports:

A clothing maker with a vast garment factory in downtown Los Angeles is firing about 1,800 immigrant employees in the coming days — more than a quarter of its work force — after a federal investigation turned up irregularities in the identity documents the workers presented when they were hired.

Join me in LA.

The firings at the company, American Apparel, have become a showcase for the Obama administration’s effort to reduce illegal immigration by forcing employers to dismiss unauthorized workers rather than by using workplace raids. The firings, however, have divided opinion in California over the effects of the new approach, especially at a time of high joblessness in the state and with a major, well-regarded employer as a target.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, a Democrat, called the dismissals “devastating,” and his office has insisted that the federal government should focus on employers that exploit their workers. American Apparel has been lauded by city officials and business leaders for paying well above the garment industry standard, offering health benefits and not long ago giving $18 million in stock to its workers.

But opponents of illegal immigration, including Representative Brian P. Bilbray, a Republican from San Diego who is chairman of a House caucus that opposes efforts to extend legal status to illegal immigrants, back the enforcement effort. They say American Apparel is typical of many companies that, in Mr. Bilbray’s words, have “become addicted to illegal labor.”

If this is the Obama Administration's plan, it's going to devastate thousands of workers and their families. And it's going to devastate an already stuggling economy.

Is the idea of the policy to make existence in this country so difficult for immigrants that they leave? Is the idea to have all 15 million immigrants suffer until they pull up roots, if they can, and leave? What a heartless policy.

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